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AISD Won't Lease Allan Elementary to IDEA (Update)

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Update: The Austin Independent School District Board last night decided not to lease the Allan elementary school building to IDEA public schools. Allan is closing down at the end of the school year.

That’s because both Allan Elementary and Eastside Memorial High School were part of a plan involving charter school operator IDEA Public Schools. The board canceled the contract with IDEA in December.

While board members agreed the building shouldn't be leased to IDEA, they questioned whether the district should place something else there so the building isn’t empty.

Original Post (April 1, 2013): The Austin  School Board tonight will discuss possibly leasing the Allan Elementary School building to IDEA Public Schools, according to an item on the board’s agenda.

At a board meeting in March, 16 community members suggested leasing the school building to IDEA, prompting the school district to bring the idea to the board for discussion. In December, AISD voted to end its contract with the charter school operator at the end of the school year and shutdown the school.

That decision came just a little over a year after AISD contracted with IDEA to run Allan Elementary School. The controversial decision received opposition from parents and community members. It was part of a larger plan to improve academic performance at some under-performing eastside schools.

According to AISD, student enrollment at IDEA Allan and IDEA College Prep is 540 students. That number is projected to grow to 2,325 students by the year 2020.

The district says if all of the students at Allan Elementary transfer to the charter school it could potentially lose $3.7 million next year and an estimated cumulative loss of around $75 million over the next seven years.

IDEA Public Schools says it plans to open its own charter school this upcoming school year. It's unclear at this time where that charter school will be located.

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